We’ve been doing a few things together and our bank balance is looking a little worse for wear. We finally had a HUGE timber boundary fence installed and it’s beautiful, but it was NOT cheap. We shared the cost with our neighbours with no dramas but I gave them a discount because their side was left with a portion of the old fence (on their side of the boundary actually) that was riddled with live termites… white ant for those not familiar. Given that both our houses are timber, we each shuddered. The fencing guys wouldn’t remove that portion of the old fence so I slightly reduced the neighbour’s cost of the fence cost to offset the nuisance value of getting the termites taken care of and the fence removed.
The doggoes were so good while the fence was missing – they didn’t try to go over to the neighbour’s yard once, except for the very last night before the fence was finished, when Dougal – who up until this point had resolutely refused to step over the mythical fence line – went INTO their open HOUSE and greeted the neighbour with a grin and a wagging tail. Doh! Mike our (rather grumpy) neighbour was not amused. Luckily his wife could see the humour in it… 😉 I’m going to pull out some of the hedging at the top of the block and replace it with rosemary – it’s a softer plant and the car gets scratches every time I open the door onto the rather meh hedging plants there at present. Then right at the top, where the dogs lie in wait for other dogs, I’m going to plant either some lavender, or some woody herbs such as perennial basil, and ground cover plants like thyme or oregano. That spot gets heaps of sun and I’m a bit desperate for some good herbs. We will need to feed and rehabilitate that spot as the dirt is compacted and lacks nutrients, and we may have to pull out a massive concrete footer left from the old fence (apparently rather over engineered according to the fencers who came and DID NOT remove them – too huge to move!)
In other news we’ve been investigating the idea of putting in a ducted air-conditioning system upstairs. Again, it’s not cheap but since we now have solar I feel better about using it during the day, and switching it off at night when we need it less – our carbon footprint isn’t as hellish with solar panels, and the ongoing costs aren’t as huge. Of course, we will only need it between October and April, but we’ve discovered this house is hot in summer and rather cold in winter. There are no window gaps or anything, it’s just a timber and tin home. With all the best will in the world, it’s impossible for them not to heat up quickly and cool down fast. I’ve not checked the roof cavity but I’m pretty sure it’s been insulated – we might even double down on the insulation if it’s the cheap, thin stuff. I’m not yet sold on the air-conditioning idea. We might put it off and then I may spend another summer sweating into my eyeballs – my study is the HOT room, but I spend between 4-8 hours in it most days.
That’s not all. Told you we were being spendy! Two or three years ago we bought a new mattress and realised once it had arrived that it was far too soft for our poor ancient backs. Instead of sending it back, we’ve made do. Our backs have not thanked us! So we made the rather huge decision to buy a king sized bed and mattress ensemble, repurposing our old queen sized bed for the guest suite, and selling our newish, rarely-used double bed (or giving it to our daughter who still sleeps in her single). Again, this was not a cheap endeavour. Luckily, beds are ALWAYS on a 50% off sale, and this one was no exception. We could have bought a decent second hand car with what we paid, but sleeping on a bad bed has taught us that given that we spend fully one third of our lives prone, the lying down bit should always feel good. First world problems, for sure. Of course, this now means I have to spend lots of money on new bedding, because it’s a king-sized bed. This means king sized sheets, doonas, mattress protectors, and even a mattress topper if that’s needed. We bought a firm mattress, because as I’ve been told, one can always soften a firm mattress, but one can never firm up a too-soft one. And, for the first time in 30 years, we will not have a bed with a footrest or headrest. This is new to me – where will I hang all the not-quite-dirty-but-not-freshly-clean clothes? How will we cope? I do have a lovely camphor-wood chest we can place at the foot of the bed but I’m tempted to get a narrow padded bench instead and totally make over our room with new furniture.
In other news, we’re finally painting the front walkway, bannisters and deck! Old mate Robert, who has a thick Scottish accent and says “ooh aye” a lot, has been painting our fence and deck this week. I’m basically paying for his 2-month grey nomad trip around Uluru in June, but I have grown to hate painting with a passion and am ready to let it go to someone else. He’s better than me, and worse than another guy I’m hoping to employ once Robert has scarpered. The new paint looks a treat, and he’s also painted the batwing doors. It’s so fresh! I won’t show you all yet, but I’m pretty thrilled with the result, because the cack green is finally going.
Oh! And I finally bit the bullet and have bought a new electric height-adjustable desk from Office National. Nope, I did NOT purchase it from Officeworks! Just for a change. I wanted a wide desk for my two monitors and laptop, so I’ve gone with a Rapidspan height adjustable 1800mm desk in white and black that should look very smart in my studio and be an improvement on the laminated wood bench top that I’ve had perched atop some bookcases for the last 4 years! I’m very aware of my health as I age and I wanted a desk that I could stand at or sit at as my body demands. I’ve actually sustained a SITTING injury – a sore coccyx – from sitting down too much. I think this will help with my weight and general improved freedom of movement. I’ll let you know how it goes….